Monday, January 28, 2008

The Boys of LHS Part II

When I was in divinity school I served as a chaplain at a small neighborhood ministry program just off East Campus in Durham. Time was a crazy thing there. By that I mean, the whole concept of time was totally different from the concept of time just a couple of blocks away at Duke. People would walk into our storefront ministry and ask if we gave rides to doctor's appointments. "Sure we give rides. Just tell us when you need to be there and you can meet us here and then we'll give you a ride to wherever you need to go." Then the time warp. "Well I was wondering if you could take me now; my appointment was 30 minutes ago."

If you aren't expecting it that time warp in poor communities can be tremendously frustrating. Yet it can sometimes be incredibly liberating as well. In fact, sometimes it can be the kind of thing that can change the whole course of your life and ministry. That's what happened for me at LHS anyway.

Under most circumstances, if you are going to take a group of kids to a camp in Colorado you really need to have pretty much everything squared away a couple of months out. That just makes sense. It definitely made sense at Coronado because parents want details and, perhaps more to the point, kids at Coronado have options. If you don't catch them early they'll be headed somewhere else that week. Tennis camp or Jazz Camp or the lakehouse. They have options and they have schedules.

But not the boys I met in the spring of 1998 anyway.

Here they are, in a totally cribbed shot from Glenn Austell (please disregard the chubby-cheeked Sooners fan in the corner), the boys of LHS.

We were no kidding only about three weeks from boarding a bus to go to summer camp when Lance Dillard, another member of the LHS Young Life team, and I just started going crazy asking any kids we saw if they wanted to go to Colorado with us. I mean we were totally reckless, casting our seed left and right. "Hey, you play football right?" "Yeah." "Hey, I saw you play. You're good. Do you want to go to Colorado?"

Now do you see my point about time? Who are the kids who are going to say yes to this kind of madness? Only the kids who have the time. In other words, only the poor kids.

There is something very biblical about that. Jesus is taking everyone to summer camp, but the only ones who are able to go are the ones who aren't going to tennis camp. The ones who don't have a father to bury. The ones who have nothing . . . nothing but time.